On February 26, 2014, it has been four years as the Russian Federation occupied the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol. The occupation of the Ukrainian Crimea by Russia was the first forcible transfer of the border of a European country since 1945.
By committing an aggression, Russia has violated a large number of international agreements, primarily the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and the Agreement on Friendship between Ukraine and Russia. In addition, Russia deliberately "forgot" its own commitments contained in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 concerning respect of the "existing borders of Ukraine", as well as "refraining from the threat of force or use of force against the territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine".
The security and independence of each country is based on fundamental, inviolable principles. That is why the fate of Crimea is of great importance both for Ukraine and for other states.
All this time, the Russian occupation authorities continue to persecute and oppress indigenous peoples - the Crimean Tatars, as well as the Ukrainian activists who are not indifferent to the fate of their country. Only political prisoners - those convicted of fabricated allegations of lengthy detention - already numbered more than 60, but their number tragically increases. However, they are not just numbers. For each of them we can see the fate and tragedy of many families.
The activity of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people was banned by Moscow almost immediately after the occupation (that is why it was decided to transfer this governing body to Kyiv), and thousands of people were not allowed to visit Crimea because of Moscow's unlawful prohibitions.
Despite repeated appeals from the UN General Assembly, Russia refuses to allow international observers to carry out an inspection of the observance of human rights in the occupied Crimea.
The act of aggression should be faced with consolidated position of the international community and the aggressor should be punished. This means the need to preserve and strengthen sanctions against Russia as long as the Crimea is under Kremlin control.
Ukraine, defending its independence and the rights of the population, carries out active actions both within the country and at the international legal level, aimed at solving the situation. The Crimean theme should remain the top priority issue on the world agenda.
Thus, at internal level Ukraine pays primary attention to the constitutional processes aimed, in particular, at establishing the status of Crimea and the rights of the Crimean Tatar population of the peninsula. In the draft new law, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is defined as the national-territorial autonomy of the Crimean Tatar people, established within the territory of the Crimean peninsula as part of a unitary Ukraine. We believe that after de-occupation of Crimea, the provisions of the law will contribute to the embodiment of positive changes and will accept the expansion of autonomy of the Crimean Tatars within the framework of the indivisible Ukraine.
At the international level, Ukraine actively participates both in bilateral and multilateral dimensions on the Crimean issue, in particular within the UN, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, and many others. Ukraine submits the facts regarding the entire spectrum of violations of international law to the International Court of Justice, the International Court of Arbitration, the European Court of Human Rights, and the International Criminal Court.
All these measures are aimed at demonstrating that no country can violate international law with impunity.
The Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol remain an integral part of Ukraine, which is temporarily occupied by Russian troops as a result of an act of aggression. Ukraine will never recognize this occupation and will take all legal measures to restore its sovereign right in the territory of its peninsula.